The latest iteration of Android, also known as Lollipop, has been anticipated on many devices this year. We looked at a couple lists online of the devices slated to receive Android 5.0, and conspicuously absent from the list is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, along with any of the other Tabs in Samsung’s lineup. Hopefully, this won’t deter potential owners from purchasing this tablet, as it is quite an impressive little tablet even without Android Lollipop. So far, the only Samsung devices confirmed to be receiving the Android Lollipop update are as follows: Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5 Mini, and the Galaxy S5 (standard and DUAL Sim version). Neither the Tab 3 or the Tab 4 are included in this list, unfortunately. However, those looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 should not be discouraged, as this tablet is still worth its sub-$200 price tag.
So what is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0? Well, it is the 3rd iteration of Samsung’s popular tablet line, and is the 8″ variant. It also comes in a 10.1″ version and is available in black and white. The tablet itself is a nice size, not too small to where it feels like an ungainly “phablet,” but also not as large as its 10″ sibling, allowing for more convenient storage and usage, especially if you’re on the go a lot. The tablet itself is constructed of a plastic case that, while not giving off that air of premium quality and solid construction, does not feel bad and is easy to hold. It’s dimensions are 8.26 x 4.87 x .29 inches, making it easy to hold in both portrait and landscape mode, as well as keeping it thin, light, and slim despite the beefy hardware packed under the cover. The whole tablet weighs only 11.25 ounces, or 319 grams, for those interested.
It’s display is, of course, 8 inches, and comes at a disappointingly low resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. While it is definitely a serviceable resolution, the low pixel density of only 189 ppi is easily discernible upon comparison to a higher end tablet, and does not allow for 1080p or above resolution picture quality. The Super Clear LCD, however, is very good and provides adequate picture quality for the size, as well as having good contrast and brightness. The auto brightness was not too bright at night, and worked well during the day, although it was a little hard to see during full sunlight, as expected.
The camera, a 5 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus, digital zoom, and night mode, was very nice. It’s not a camera that will blow the minds of its owners with next level clarity and detail, but it does the job and will be fine for everyday use. The lack of an LED flash, however, makes this camera not so useful in the dark, even with its night mode. The rear facing camera is capable of 720p video recording. The front-facing camera is a standard 1.3 megapixel camera that doesn’t disappoint, but fails to impress either. However, for a tablet, the cameras are good enough, as most users will not be using tablets for professional photography anyway.
As stated above, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 will NOT be updated to Android 5.0, as least not at the time of the writing of this article. Instead, it comes shipped with Android 4.2.2, and should be upgradeable to Android 4.4.4. The tablet has a Dual Core processor running at 1500 MHz and a graphics processor called the ARM Mali-400. This allows the Tab 3 to effortlessly handle games like Asphalt 8 without lag. Even with several apps running in tandem, the 1.5 GB of RAM was sufficient enough to keep everything snappy, with only a couple moments when the tablet lagged out here and there. Without a question, the selling point of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is its powerful processor and hardware. Onboard memory is 32 GB, which should be plenty for most users out there. However, there is an option to expand to up to 64 GB total via a microSD card for those who need the extra storage.
The battery is a whopping 4450 mAH battery that is non-removable and lasted a full workday with continual use, and lasting about a full day of talk time (as claimed by Samsung). The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is a very nice tablet with powerful processing speed and a great operating system to boot. However, a mediocre camera and a low resolution screen make this tablet not the most awe inspiring device to use. However, users will be hard pressed to find a cheaper tablet anywhere this holiday season. This tablet definitely blows most budget tablets out of the water, and users who don’t value photography or don’t mind seeing the pixels of the display if they stare closely at it will definitely be satisfied with this purchase.